With the opening of a shop in the new One Monte-Carlo complex, jeweller Fred reconnects with its roots and pays tribute to founder Fred Samuel's affection for the Principality and the Riviera's charms.
Valérie Samuel, assistant managing director and creative director of Fred, upholds the spirit and codes developed by her grandfather. “When he founded the house in 1936, his first business card stated ‘Modern Jewellery Designer’. He was such a visionary that even today we stay in tune with the times just by applying what drove him. In the Seventies he realised women were becoming liberated and wanted jewellery for everyday wear. He gave them freedom of movement and to express their own style.” Down the years the family business, now part of the LVMH group, has preserved its DNA. “Our iconic collections, such as the Force 10 and 8°0, have evolved but express our identity as much as ever.”
Argentina-born Fred Samuel was especially fond of southern France and Monaco, where he rediscovered the sun and colours of his childhood. “In his memoirs my grandfather described Monaco as ‘the place where the light of stones was returned to me, so to speak’”, quotes Valérie Samuel. That love shines through in the jeweller's creations but no less in its stores, their identity honed in collaboration with designer Hubert de Malherbe to reflect those Riviera codes.
Back to roots
“Once again Fred has a showcase in the Principality,” says Valérie Samuel happily. A showcase appreciable in its wonderful contoured spaces, historic rooms and Vincent Darré's wall painting representing the goddess of light. Every one of the collections is on display, notably the re-issue of the iconic Ombre Feline. “In his memoirs Fred Samuel recounts one of the great moments in his career, when Princess Grace did him the honour of inaugurating his shop in 1976 and said of the ring she was wearing: 'I adore this ring, I wear it all the time.’”
Looking for an imaginative way to share her grandfather's career with others, Valérie Samuel called on mercurial interior decorator Vincent Darré. The starting point for this whimsical collaboration is ‘correspondence’ between Fred Samuel and the French artist, imaginary letters that have morphed into playful videos and inspired drawings. “Fred Samuel used to arrive on the French Riviera with a suitcase full of precious stones and jewellery. He was a real eccentric. He tells us he dreamt of going up in a hot-air balloon and showering jewellery down! So we've imagined a travelogue about him, recounting his life just as it was,” Vincent Darré explains. After Tokyo and Monaco, Fred's Sojourns will end its travels here on the Riviera this June.
Par Caroline Stefani